CAR T-cell Therapy: What to Expect
Step 1. Apheresis cell collection visit
Every child treated with T-cell therapy will have cells collected through a process called apheresis. The collected cells are used to create your child’s personalized treatment — called “CAR T-cell product.” You will receive detailed instructions prior to arrival about every part of the multi-step outpatient visit.
Brooke Leibfreid, BSN, RN, Nurse Navigator, will help to coordinate all your child’s appointments during your stay and communicate what happens when. CHOP will assist with planning travel and lodging. This is the basic timeline of your visit:
Stop 1: Visit with the Anesthesia Resource Center and Cancer Immunotherapy team at Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care, located on the Raymond G. Perelman Campus. We will discuss the cell collection process and everything that happens during the six-week stay following infusion.
Stop 2: Temporary apheresis catheter placement at the Main Building under general anesthesia.
Stop 3: T-cell collection in the Apheresis Unit, located in the Buerger Center.
Stop 4: Apheresis catheter removal.
Step 2: Consent visit
The consent visit is a one-day meeting with our specialized CAR T team, including a nurse practitioner and an oncologist. You will have the opportunity to hear about treatment options and provide consent for your child’s treatment or enrollment in the clinical trial and learn about everything that happens during the six-week stay following infusion. Labs will be drawn following the meeting to screen and enroll your child in the trial. If your child had cells collected elsewhere, this will be your first visit to CHOP.
Step 3: Cell therapy treatment
When your child’s T cells are ready and can be safely infused, the treatment will be scheduled. Your child will return to CHOP on or just before the scheduled date.
How T-Cell Therapy Works
The full length of the stay in Philadelphia will be about five to six weeks. The treatment may start as outpatient, but your child may need to be admitted to the Hospital at some point during their stay. You will have regular visits with the Cancer Immunotherapy team.
Step 4: Follow-up care
We will continue to follow your child closely after your initial stay in Philadelphia. Some visits will happen at home, and some visits will take place at CHOP. We will always let you know when and where your next follow-up appointment will be.